Name game puts new option on the table

OVERWHELMING: The audience at Thursday night’s merger information meeting in Cootamundra almost unanimously voted to change the name of the new Gundagai Council to Cootamundra Gundagai Council. Picture: Jennette LeesFrom the beginning of Local Government amalgamation talks, Cootamundra residents have acquiesced to the idea that the shire must merge.

The financial state of the former Cootamundra Shire Council was not such that it could continue.

Residents were eager to merge with Harden, however when that did not happen and Cootamundra was told they were to go with Gundagai, a further nail was hammered into the coffin and residents were left with the name Gundagai Council.

The name has been a point of contention, mostly in Cootamundra,since.

It appears administrator Christine Ferguson has listened to the people over this issue and on Thursday night in Cootamundra announced a possible name change to Cootamundra Gundagai Council or Gundagai Cootamundra Council.

In front of around 170 people packed into the Ex Services Club for an information meeting on the new council, Ms Ferguson said she had been in contact with Minister for Local Government Paul Toole who said he was happy to consider a name change featuring the two town names.

“I’m 99.9 per cent sure we can get it,” Ms Ferguson said.

The conversation took place just before Thursday night’s meeting.

A show of hands revealed the room was almost unanimous in their support of a name featuring both towns.

All residents in the new Gundagai Council area will now be sent a voting slip containing at least the two name options inclusive of both town names.

Ms Ferguson encouraged everyone to return the slip to council saying community support for a name change will be vital in getting it over the line with the minister.

“We have to have this name problem fixed ASAP,” she told the audience, adding no money will be spent on new signs in the shire until a final name has been determined.

The news of a double barrel name inclusive of Cootamundra was met with a resounding cheer from the audience.

The next step will be to decide through the voting process which name gets a guernsey first in the title.

Cootamundra resident Simon Bragg commended Ms Ferguson on listening to the people.

“I camein here tonight and I was quite annoyed,” Mr Bragg said.

“I’m pleasantly surprised at the change of attitude,” he continued.

He suggested as Cootamundra was the “senior council” of the two in terms of population the name should be Cootamundra Gundagai Council.

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